Reach to Recovery Training – 16-18 Mar 2007
By Dr Evelyn Ho
A training workshop for volunteer breast cancer survivors in Malaysia was held in the Breast Cancer Welfare Association (BCWA) from 16th to 18th of March 2007. This was the first time the premises could host the Reach to Recovery Training Workshop. The atmosphere was more “informal” and everyone was more at home in the BWCA compared to previous workshops in the past few years held in hotels. Thus, greater interaction was achieved and everyone had a fruitful time.
There were 18 participants, 2 of whom were from Indonesia. Topics covered were to prepare them for effective counselling, support, advocacy, training and teaching of breast health awareness. Socio cultural issues, legislation, rights of the breast cancer survivor, interpersonal skills, patient’s kit, setting up support services and basic information on breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, tapping of community resources, patient visitation as well as designing and sewing of breast prostheses were imparted to all present. For the participants themselves, issues of self image, sexuality and coping strategies were brought to the fore. Finally dying issues, dealing with death, hospice roles and services, palliative care services were addressed.
The panel of speakers/facilitators were Ranjit Kaur (President of BCWA), Ivy Josiah, Dr Jeff Dunn (Patient Services Adviser of the International Union Against Cancer), Dr Patricia Gomez (consultant surgeon), Dr Kanaheswari, Barbara Khoo, Margaret Gooi (BCWA visitation team), Tammy Tam and BCWA sewing team, Dr Ednin Hamzah (Palliative Care physician and Medical Director of Hospis Malaysia), Dr Evelyn Ho (Consultant Radiologist).